Ask “Why Not” and Be Amazed

It’s All in the Question

You might – or might not – be surprised at how much the question you ask influences the answers you get. Sometimes, seemingly similar questions will bet you to very different places. I’ve found, for example, that “What if?” is very popular among motivational speakers. I’ve also found that for many people, it leads to catastrophizing instead of exploring possibilities. “What if” stops some people dead in their tracks. “Why not?” might be just what you need to open possibilities.

My recent trip to the Highline is a good look at what happens when you ask “Why not?”.




Me (well, my shadow) taking pictures on the Highline


The Highline

For many years, the old railroad spur on the far west side of Manhattan was nothing more than an eyesore. There were periodic moves to tear it down.

A bit of history from Wikipedia:

“The High Line (also known as the High Line Park) is a 1.45-mile-long (2.33 km) New York City linear park built inManhattan on an elevated section of a disused New York Central Railroad spur called the West Side Line.[1] Inspired by the 3-mile (4.8-kilometer) Promenade plantée (tree-lined walkway), a similar project in Paris completed in 1993, the High Line has been redesigned and planted as an aerial greenway and rails-to-trails park.”



From Wikipedia: “The High Line viaduct, then a portion of the New York Connecting Railroad’s West Side Line, opened to trains in 1934. It originally ran from34th Street to St. John’s Park Terminal at Spring Street, and was designed to go through the center of blocks rather than over the avenue. It connected directly to factories and warehouses, allowing trains to load and unload their cargo inside buildings. Milk, meat, produce, and raw and manufactured goods could be transported and unloaded without disturbing traffic on the streets. This also reduced the load for the Bell Laboratories Building (which has housed the Westbeth Artists Community since 1970), as well as for the former Nabisco plant in the Chelsea Market building, which were served from protected sidings within the structures.”

Why Not Create a Park?

As trucks replaced trains, the spur fell into disrepair and disuse. In the late 90’s, a railroad enthusiast asked, why not preserve this piece of railroad history and create a park? Now, people come from all over the world to walk the Highline and enjoy the landscaping, bask in the sunshine, enjoy a snack and admire the skyline and waterfront.



My Highline Adventure

So why was I on the Highline instead of in front of my computer? I had materials to review for a new course I’m teaching. I had blog posts to write. I had an assignment to complete for a course I’m taking and a call for that course. There’s a (virtual) stack of books I want to finish reading. I need to organize materials for a new book project.

Well, after a freezing weekend, the weather had shifted back to early autumn. It was over 70. The sun was shining. So, I said, “why not?” I packed up my Kindle, my iPad and my phone. I added colored markers and a large pad so I could work on content mindmaps. My office was now portable, and off I went.

I could have easily talked myself out of going. But I wanted an adventure. And it was a wonderful and productive afternoon.

Say “Why Not?”

Next time you’re feeling a little bored or a little stuck, let your mind wander. What do you really want to be doing? Then go out and do it. As you create your own wise, wild and wonderful life, you’ll find opportunities for adventures big and small available to you every day. Go out and have an adventure and come back and share it here!

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